« Calls begin for another home buyer tax credit | Main | City resident gets bizarre bill for property registration »

September 1, 2010

The federal spending effect on Md.

Why is Maryland's jobs picture better than most other states? A certain city to the south of us is a big part of the reason.

A new Census Bureau report offers a reminder of just how key federal spending is here. Federal funds earmarked for contracting work in Maryland last fiscal year topped $34 billion -- a 35 percent increase from a year earlier.

If we're a company town at all, that company is Uncle Sam Inc.

Jobs are a variable in the housing-market equation, so it makes sense to pay attention to the federal effect if you're trying to figure out what will happen to home sales.

On the one hand, there's BRAC -- the base realignment and closure effort -- bringing jobs to the area. And not just the jobs relocating from out of state. "Four military bases in Maryland are all getting hundreds of millions of dollars in construction spending," said Richard P. Clinch, director of economic research at the University of Baltimore's Jacob France Institute.

On the other hand, there's the sky-high budget deficit putting a cap on future growth. The Department of Defense, a major source of contracting dollars in Maryland, is promising to tighten its belt.

Clinch has long warned that the federal government can't continue spending at the pace it has, and that Maryland will feel the effects when that change comes. We might be getting to that point.

Do you think BRAC will outweigh any slowdowns or cuts to federal spending in Maryland?

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: The economy


Even though the federal contracting dollars help the area, the amount of federal workers in general also help stablize the economy in the Baltimore Washington corridor.

CH, absolutely. Total federal spending of all sorts, from contracts to salaries to Social Security payments, totaled $92 billion in Maryland last fiscal year.

The question we should ask: is this good? Or more precisely, acknowledging that it is good for MD, are we good enough to acknowledge that it comes at the expense of the rest of the country?

The answer to these questions dictates whether or not we want to return 2 pork champions who sit on appropriations: Dutch "Hungry Hungry Hippos" Ruppersberger, and Barbara Mikulski. Is the job of your congressman or senator to go to Washington and out elbow the other pigs and the federal trough? Or is it to draft and support policy that creates jobs and growth for the entire economy?

Federal earmarks are modern day tragedy of the commons game theory 101.

wow, thats lot of spending. Why dont they use some extra money to help out people stuck in foreclosure issues.

So you want to have the money being used for Social Security payments and federal salaries to pay for mortgages for people in foreclosure? Except, I guess, you still want the federal employees who would work on transferring the money to help out people stuck in foreclosure issues?

Josh Dowlut for Congress!!!!! You have my vote. Jamie should try to hook up you up with an interview so you can unseat Ruppersberger. Come on Jamie. Hook him up. I am sure you can get him on the front page for some publicity?

Anoynymous, I'm happy to have nothing to do with political coverage. That's a thankless job. Give me housing stories any day.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Name-calling aimed at other commenters is not welcome here. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Sun Real Estate section
Archive: Dream Home
Dream Home takes readers into the houses of area residents who have found their ideal home.
Sign up for FREE business alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for Business text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Sign up for the At Home newsletter
The home and garden newsletter includes design tips and trends, gardening coverage, ideas for DIY projects and more.
See a sample | Sign up

Charm City Current
Stay connected